OSWEGO, NY – As Central New York residents prepare to honor the nationâ€™s active military and veterans this Memorial Day Weekend, organizers unveiled a series of theme days, activities and special promotions for military members and families at the first-ever Oswego Festival of Sail.
The three-day tall ships extravaganza will drop anchor at the historic Maritime District and West Pier in Oswego June 25 through 27.
Event organizers gathered Friday at the H. Lee White Marine Museum to designate two special theme days for the maritime celebration.
Friday, June 25, will be Military and Family Appreciation Day and Saturday will be Dunkinâ€™ Donuts Day.
â€œWith Mondayâ€™s observance of Memorial Day, we could not think of a more fitting occasion to make this announcement for an event so deeply ingrained in our nationâ€™s rich military history and culture,â€ said Jonathon Daniels, executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority and festival committee member.
â€œWe look forward to honoring our nationâ€™s active duty and reserve service members and veterans, and are thrilled to work with Dunkinâ€™ Donuts to assemble an exciting lineup of family-friendly activities,â€ Daniels continued. â€œWeâ€™re going to be celebrating some absolutely fantastic days during that time.â€
Preceding the announcement, the H. Lee White Marine Museum served as the backdrop for an honorary flag ceremony presented by the Fulton VFW Honor Guard in observance of the Memorial Day Weekend.
Several Oswego County based service men and women, representing the US Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, were also in attendance to pay tribute to this historic location.
On June 25, the Oswego Festival of Sail will get under way. Military Family Appreciation Day will celebrate active duty, reserve and retired military men and women with a special colonial period theme.
A wide assortment of historical presentations, educational childrenâ€™s activities, tours of the marine museum and a historical costume contest will highlight the unique era and time period specific to the tall ships.
Additionally, festival organizers announced that all military personnel will receive 50 percent off the regular admission price on Friday with a valid military ID, Daniels said.
On June 26, Festival of Sail sponsor Dunkinâ€™ Donuts will welcome families to the harbor.
The first 500 people through the turnstiles that day will receive a free â€œmysteryâ€ Dunkinâ€™ Donuts girt card worth anywhere from $2 to $60 in honor of the companyâ€™s 60th birthday.
The rechargeable gifts cards are redeemable at any participating Dunkinâ€™ Donuts location in the greater Central New York region.
Also, the coffee and baked goods retailer will offer its customers a special savings for Saturdayâ€™s festival. On Dunkinâ€™ Donuts Day, customers will receive $2 off the regular admission price by showing their Dunkinâ€™ Donuts card at the ticket booth.
To keep families running throughout the three-day festival, Dunkinâ€™ Donutsâ€™ menu of refreshing hot and iced coffee, Coolatta beverages, donuts and baked goods will be available at the event. All net proceeds from those sales will benefit the marine museum.
â€œAt Dunkinâ€™ Donuts, we have a longstanding commitment to serving those who serve our communities. We are thrilled to partner withÂ the Oswego Festival of Sail to help bring this event to the shores of New York and salute the brave military men and women whoseÂ history is so deeply tied to these majestic ships,â€ said Dunkinâ€™ Donutsâ€™ field marketing manager Eric Stensland. â€œAs a sponsor of the inaugural arrival of the tall ships, we look forward to welcoming families to take part in this exciting, educational and one-of-a-kind event.â€
The historic Oswego Harbor will serve as a perfect backdrop for the festival, he added.
The support from all the sponsors has been has been great, Daniels said.
â€œTheir financial resources give us the opportunity to build for next year,â€ he added.
â€œI am ecstatic,â€ said Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum. â€œConsidering the current state of the economy, we are so pleased with the support that weâ€™ve had from our sponsors. Also, I think the committee did a good job making this affordable for everyone.â€
The Oswego Festival of Sail will take place June 25 â€“ 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the historic Maritime District and West Pier in Oswego.
The cost will be $10 per single adult, $8 for seniors, $5 for youth ages 5 to 16, free for children under 5, and/or a flat fee of $25 for families of six persons.
The festival includes tours of the tall ships the Pride of Baltimore II, the Lynx, and the all female crewed the Unicorn (which has replaced the Roseway).
If you wish to participate on a sail away, there will be a separate fee.
To book a ride/seat for a 90-minute sail away on the Lynx, call 1-(866) 446-5969 or go to www.privateerlynx.org
Also available for tours will be the National Historic Landmark World War II Tugboat the LT-5, which served during the Normandy Invasion and the 1925 NYS Canal Boat, Niess pointed out.
The LT-5 is part of the H. Lee Marine Museum ongoing exhibit.
Additionally, the Oswego Station of the US Coast Guard will have its 47-foot Motor Life Boat available for tours throughout the weekend and there will be an air rescue demonstration with a US Coast Guard HH65 Helicopter on June 26 at 1 p.m.
Beth Chase, an AmeriCorps member, will be assisting at the museum with activities for children.
There will be a special treasure hunt and more.
â€œI am a senior at SUNY Oneonta, and am looking to go into a career involving children,â€ she said. â€œWorking here, during the festival, will be a great experience.â€